Jackie Sports Bra Sew Along Week 1
I have been listening to my customers and the greatest requests for my patterns were to make a front closing sports bra with an adjustible strap. It has been a few years since my last sports bra pattern, but those requests were always on my mind. The adjustible strap on the Laurel was a little challenging to adjust, so I wanted to play around with a completely different concept that utilizes items you likely have in your stash.
Introducing the Jackie Sports Bra!
The pattern officially released in November, but I wanted to offer a sew along series with YouTube videos to accompany it. Today marks day 1. This is my finished sample below. I usually don’t share photos of me wearing my own lingerie, so this is a treat.
Note that there are two different construction methods in the instructions, the videos show the more complicated construction, but you can make either version. Make sure to follow along with our Sew Along Group on Facebook to get some support or ask your questions below.
Lets get to know your measurement and what size you should select when getting started.
You first want to measure your underbust measurement fairly snug and preferably sans clothing. In imperial measurements, round to the nearest inch then add either 1 or 2 to your measurement to equal your band. This is similar to European sizes, but my band would likely place you in one size up. In most American sizes, you’d be one band size down.
Confusing? Yeah, sorry about that. I developed my sizing about 8 years ago and I can’t change it since all my patterns are sized like this and I don’t want my previous customers accidentally purchasing the wrong size going forward.
Once you get the band size, then you want to measure your full bust. This should be a supportive bra and not leaning over. If your breasts are pendulous, you could end up in a huge cup that you are swimming in. If you don’t have a supportive bra, you can do your best to hold up the breasts manually while a friend measures your full bust. Four hands are needed for this.
Take your full bust measurement and round to the nearest whole number and subtract the band number from it. The difference is directly related to the cup size. 1″ difference is A cup, 2″ difference is B Cup, 3″ is C cup and so one, straight up to a 14″ difference which equals an N cup.
Once you have this size, you want to then look at the fabrics you plan to use and the purpose of the sports bra. For a fabric with a 20-30% stretch and a relaxed daily wear fit, stick to the size you picked. If you have a fabric in this stretch and would prefer a compression fit, go down 1 band size and 1 “sister” cup size, so if you measure as a 36F, you’d select the 34F.
If you decide to use a more firm fabric such as scuba or a cut and sew foam for a layer in the front, the size you measure into will fit like a compression bra. If you prefer the relaxed fit, size up one band and one “sister” cup size, so if you measured 36F, you’d go up to 38F.
If your fabric is stretchier, you can utilize a less stretchy lining or place an extra layer into the sports bra. A high level of spandex can likely make for too much bounce and can spread the breast more around your body, so be careful of that. The sports bra fabrics I currently carry are about 30% stretch, so they are at the cap of my recommendations, so if you want to feel hugged, go down in size.
I included a set of instructions for measuring for asmmetry as well a as a video on determine your size for asymmetry. Watch my video HERE. Here are a few pictures showing the pattern changes I made to alter my patterns from right to left.
Not its time to round up your supplies. I prefer a fabric about 230-280 GSM with a low stretch of about 20%. The fabrics I carry are a hair more than this, but I’ve not had any issues with the sports bras I made with them. I am slightly limited in the nylon fabrics. I prefer to carry nylon as it doesn’t smell when sweating. I prefer the weight and stretch of the poly fabrics I carried previously, but those things smelled so bad after one day of sweating.
You will need a separating zipper at least 8″ of teeth. I highly recommend the resin teeth. I have black and white available in my shop HERE.
You will also need straps and hardware for the straps as well as some cut & sew foam and a hook and eye tape. Luckily I made kits for this occasion. You can find them HERE. I made a variety of fabric kits and a variety of finding kits. If you prefer to source your own, below is the full set of instructions for you to browse and collect your supplies.Sports-Bra-Jackie-Instructions
Now for the cutting. Make sure you lay out the patterns so the grainline is in the direction of the least stretch. The greatest stretch goes around the body. Some athletic fabrics stretch in the opposite direction, so just check your fabrics before cutting.
If you are more of a beginner, then I’d sugget making your version to go over your head. I did a separate post that detailed some of the changes I made to that construction method HERE. If you are determined to try the zipper version, note that I would consider this advanced sewing. The version I demonstrated in the videos has a completely clean finish on the inside of the sports bra, so there is no rubbing of seams against the body.
I do need to advise that you really should follow my instructions in the order I show them to get the same results. The zipper and shield finish requires this clean finish. There may be faster, raw finishes for zippers and shields, but the garment will not look as refined.
There is only one change for switching to the pull over head version and that is the elastic length. The front pattern pieces can be cut on the fold or cut 2. The zipper takes up the space in which we shorten the pattern when sewing the zipper. The zipper version will be only slightly more snug than the over the head version because the zipper doesn’t stretch, so its not really enough to notice.
The wonderful thing about my sports bra patterns is that they all can be constucted with the zipper front or over the head and all pieces are interchangable. The backs can switched around as can the waistbands and straps. If you have all three sports bras, that can give you a wide variety of bra designs. My personal favorites are the Christina Front, Jackie Front, Jackie Back and Laurel Waistband.
Work on getting yours cut out this week and we can get to the sewing next week.